For the journalists of the Cahiers du cinema, this is the end of the story: the editorial staff of the emblematic monthly news of the New Wave decided on Thursday to leave the magazine altogether, in disagreement with the directions and profile of its new shareholders.
The 15 salaried editors of the magazine announced in a press release that they have all opted for the cession clause, a starting device that journalists can activate in the event of a change of ownership of a title.
A decision that follows the announcement, in early February, of the sale of the emblematic magazine of the 7th art, popular with many moviegoers and which notably played a key role in the birth of the New Wave.
Richard Schlagman, ex-boss of Phaïdon editions, who bought the monthly magazine from Le Monde in 2009, sold it to a collective of around twenty personalities. They include prominent businessmen (including the founders of Free, Xavier Niel, Meetic, Marc Simoncini, and BFMTV, Alain Weill) and producers (Marc du Pontavice, Toufik Ayadi, Christophe Barral, Pascal Caucheteux .. .).
“The new shareholders include eight producers, which poses an immediate conflict of interest problem in a critical review. Whatever the articles published on the films of these producers, they would be suspected of complacency”, underlines the press release of the editorial staff.
Journalists for the monthly had expressed public fears and said they were not heard by the buyers.
– “Distort the Notebooks” –
“The charter of independence announced first by the shareholders has already been contradicted by the brutal announcements in the press. It was communicated to us that the review must + refocus on French cinema +”, they rebelled, pointing also the appointment to the post of general director of the general delegate of the SRF (Society of film directors), which adds to the “fears of an influence of the French cinema environment” on the monthly line.
They also criticize the new shareholders for wanting to make the Notebooks a “friendly” and “chic” review, which they believe would be a departure from its history.
“The Notebooks have always been a critical review committed, taking clear positions”, and “it would be distorting the Notebooks to make them a flashy showcase or a platform for promoting French auteur cinema”, they warn.
They also disapprove of the presence among the buyers of “businessmen close to power”, while the monthly hold critical positions vis-à-vis the government.
And finally, “while the press has been bought by the big telecoms, and the bosses of Meetic, Free, BFM are playing business angels, we refuse this concentration in the hands of the same formerly free titles”, say- they.
Bible des cinephiles founded by Andre Bazin, created in 1951, Les Cahiers du Cinema contributed to the birth of the New Wave, with collaborators who then successfully passed production such as Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut or Claude Chabrol.
Sales in France of the monthly have declined in recent years, falling to around 12,000 copies on average last year, against more than 15,000 in 2015, according to data from the Alliance for Press and Media Figures (ACPM).